Alcohol at Events – A Benefit or Hindrance – A Few Hints and Tips.

As an events management student last year we were tasked with throwing our own event, our event concept was a charity evening in aid of the Royal National Institute for the Blind our event challenge was to raise as much as possible to cover the costs and for the charity itself. On the event night itself we encountered a number of issues which where believed to be caused by alcohol misuse, we had not planned for this nor taken it into consideration. There are a few tips for any potential events managers or students on the PDHU website and Drinkaware is a very useful website that will give all relevant information as to the effects alcohol can take on a person’s lifestyle and I would highly recommend having a understanding on some of these effects before attempting to hold an event on a licensed premises.

In this blog entry I would like to take the time to write up a few tips for risky proposition of alcohol sales. More often than not when the decision to sell alcohol at an event it opens the doors to a whole different crowd of attendees and a lot more legal issues. However, if the event screams out for a beer, double vodka or Jagerbomb then take these precautions!

Know your event


So firstly, it’s your event make sure you know it inside out. For example, how many people are going to be, at your event? Will there be more than one bar? Will your event serve stiff alcohol, and which methods will you use to reduce the access to alcohol? The most important thing you should know as a events manager is how will you deal with drunken attendees? If you have the answer to all of these questions dealing with alcohol itself will become tremendously easier. The office of substance abuse published article to help guide bars/restaurants in the right way with alcohol servings. This article can easily be turned on its head to suit events.

Are you licensed?

Now, you are fully aware of your event and how you’re going to deal with alcohol on the night. Your next challenge is to communicate with the venue manager to make sure it’s a licensed premises and the service of alcohol will comply with the law. If you are already in a licensed premise, there will be no problem and you will be able to serve alcohol using their licenses. Legal bars and pubs should already be properly licensed and insured (however I would recommend you confirm this beforehand) as Mahoney 2000 says “if its advertised as having a bar will be licensed”

Trained staff


Its vital to have fully trained and legal staff there is a website called how to run a pub which has brilliant with advice with the legalities in this area as Smith says “The law is there to be followed, nobody can escape it.” This is relevant to this area because those said laws are hiring responsible adults to serve at the bar who will recognise when a guest has had to much to drink and they will then refuse service. This leads me onto my next point.

Limiting how much a guest can drink


As a student I am probably going to sound barbaric for suggesting this but at an event an open bar is such a bad idea. We all love open bars but they are very dangerous for an events manager and before even thinking about using an open bar an event manager should check government legislations for guidance on this. If your event does involve an open bar, then set some limits. Rather than allow people just to simply order what they want at the open bar for as long as they want give them drinks vouchers and set a three drink limit with this in mind set a shorter happy hour and keep your eye on attendees. Don’t let them get to silly!


For further information on how to deal with drunken attendees check out Christmas and Seymour’s article Drunken nights’ out and for further reading on the effects alcohol has on the body check out the article by Kaunihera Whakatupato entitled “Alcohol – the body and health effects

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